Boeing 737 MAX to Get EU Flight Clearance Next Week

Boeing 737 MAX to Get EU Flight Clearance Next Week
American Airlines flight 718, the first U.S. Boeing 737 MAX commercial flight since regulators lifted a 20-month grounding in November, takes off from Miami, Florida on Dec. 29, 2020. (Reuters/Marco Bello)

PARIS—Boeing's 737 MAX airliner will receive final clearance to resume flying in Europe next week, the head of the EU's air safety watchdog said on Tuesday.

The EU Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is one of the last major regulators to approve changes to the MAX and its anti-stall software, blamed for two deadly crashes that grounded the jet in March 2019.

The European agency, which published a draft airworthiness directive in November, has made largely presentational adjustments after public consultations, Executive Director Patrick Ky said in an online media briefing.

"We expect to publish it next week, which means the MAX will be cleared to fly again," Ky said. A separate certification of the MAX-200 variant will likely follow in "coming weeks", he added, allowing flights to resume before summer.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Brazilian authorities both cleared the MAX for flight in November. Canada is expected to follow suit on Wednesday.

Following the crashes, EASA insisted on carrying out a broader and deeper review than it typically conducts on Boeing jets under the FAA's primary authority.

Emirates President Tim Clark last week credited the European regulator's "very hard line" for helping to restore public trust in the MAX.